EPIC HighBay Laboratory

With a 91 feet by 46 feet strong floor and a 32 feet height strong wall (with a maximum allowable shear force of 1 million pounds), the EPIC HighBay Lab (EHBL) is an advanced, full-scale testing facility where faculty and students design and test resilient infrastructure systems, both above and below ground. Many of the High Bay projects support the power industry. As our energy infrastructure ages, complex repairs are often needed in order to extend its life. Likewise, new technologies, materials, and procedures need to be developed to meet future energy infrastructure needs. By researching energy infrastructure improvements and creating new designs, UNC Charlotte assists the energy industry in building reliable energy infrastructure components and systems.

For a virtual tour of the HighBay Lab click here.

This lab features equipment to perform full-scale, real-time testing of components and systems using a combination of numerical simulation and experimental testing.

The main functions of the EHBL include:

  • Test large-scale structures & components
  • Verify numerical models
  • Improve/modify structural design
  • Perform multi-scenario simulations
  • Improve industry standards and develop new products
  • Connect computer simulation with experimental testing
  • Optimize use of materials in complex designs    

This laboratory addresses key challenges in large infrastructure projects:

  • How do high-performance materials behave under extreme loads?
  • How do we improve energy infrastructure design procedures?
  • How do we test energy infrastructure components and systems to obtain more meaningful experimental results?

The EHBL provides critical infrastructure support for a variety of industries such as, including those in energy, construction, geotechnical, transportation, materials and manufacturing. Housed in EPIC, the high-bay supports the energy industry by working with companies to improve the nation’s energy infrastructure. Students, faculty, and researchers design and test new technologies that lead to innovative and cost-effective solutions.  The EHBL can also be used by industrial partners as a third-party test environment. The labs have capabilities to work with a variety of materials including metals, polymers, timber, composites, masonry, concrete, and soils.  Faculty and students, often in direct collaboration with industry partners, perform a variety of evaluations including stress tests, risk assessments, corrosion/deterioration investigations, capacity ratings, deformations/movements monitoring, and failure/fatigue assessments.  Results of this work can be obtained by either destructive or non-destructive evaluation.  Work can performed for applied loads that are static or dynamic, immediate or long-term, and exposed to controlled or extreme environmental conditions. 

At UNC Charlotte, researchers have the capabilities to work at the molecular level, at the full-scale level, and at scaled levels in between. EPIC provides the facilities, research expertise, primary and auxiliary equipment, and test environment necessary to execute advanced research projects and complex tests.  Researchers work directly with companies to solve individual problems and collaborate with larger groups and associations to provide industry-wide solutions.